Noted for its M&A, venture capital, contracts, disputes, employment and competition work, the department at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP retains an impressive client following amongst global and local TMT companies, investors and other corporations active in industries impacted by disruptive technologies. Advice on fintech, cybersecurity and e-commerce issues also makes up part of the firm’s regular workload. Highly regarded Mark Robinson heads up the offering across the Asia Pacific region. Tomas Furlong takes the lead on dispute resolution, while Jamie McLaren is a key name for transactional matters. Newly promoted of counsel Peggy Chow oversees the data practice across the whole of Asia. Senior associate Harry Evans and of counsel Kathryn Thornton, both of whom are well versed in mandates concerning collaborations, complete the roster of recommended practitioners.
TMT: foreign firms in Singapore
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
‘One of the strongest and best staffed TMT teams in Singapore.’
‘Harry Evans is stellar. Sound knowledge of the law, provides practical advice and accompanies us through the tight deadlines.’
‘The HSF TMT practice based in Singapore is world class. We work in particular with Harry Evans who is an emerging talent and operates very much at partner level. Like the entire team, Harry provides considered and expert commercial and legal advice – as a truly trusted partner.’
‘Mark Robinson and Jamie McLaren are very responsive and approachable. They have worked on several matters for our team and always delivered.’
‘Harry Evans represents best in class for his technical skills and commercial insights. He handles every aspect of our TMT projects as a trusted partner and we value his pragmatic and commercial solutions.’
‘Kathryn Thornton has played a key role in coordinating advice from her colleagues and partner law firms around the region, ensuring quality control and timely responses along the way. Mark Robinson has shown himself to be flexible and willing to accommodate different requests and billing models for clients.’
‘Herbert Smith Freehills has shown particular strength in various types of commercial advice with respect to the Southeast Asian region. For example, they are able to provide timely and comprehensive advice with respect to market entry, business and payments licensing, marketing and data protection issues in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Based on my observations, they also have diverse teams (in terms of gender, nationality and ethnicity).’
Standard Chartered Bank
- Advised two major shareholders in South East Asian e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia on the company’s $18bn merger with fellow unicorn GoJek to create GoTo Group, the largest technology group in Indonesia.
- Advised Singapore’s new entrant mobile network operator TPG Telecom on its spin out and listing with share capital of $305m in connection with the $10.8b merger of TPG Telecom Australia with Vodafone Hutchinson Australia.
- Advised Grab on its joint venture with Singtel, to form one of the two newly-licensed (in-principle) full digital banks in Singapore, and on arrangements with third parties to build the new technology stack for the digibank including the core banking engine.
Norton Rose Fulbright is instructed by many of the region’s leading businesses across the full range of TMT-related industries, and has extensive experience in spearheading multi-jurisdictional engagements from Singapore; commercial transactions, outsourcings, regulatory issues, international compliance programs and cybersecurity all form part of the firm’s regular practice. The group is at the forefront of the region’s emergence as major disruptive technology and fintech centre, and is known for advising on a high proportion of the most notable engagements in this field, particularly in AI and blockchain. Stella Cramer, who heads up the global technology team, is ably supported by counsel David Olds.
Other key lawyers:
‘What stood out for me was the willingness to learn more about our business and processes and then work with us to help strategise.’
‘Stella Cramer has a unique skill set which I found very hard to find elsewhere.’
‘Deep understanding of contracts in Asia Pacific. Able to provide advice on practices in ASEAN and how they are relevant to the regulator.’
‘Willing to go the extra mile, understands the complexities of government negotiations.’
‘Excellent technical knowledge and depth of experience across the team.’
‘Many of the partners and associates that I work with have experience as in-house lawyers within the financial services and telecoms sectors. This gives them a unique ability to understand client needs and deliver advice and support that is both practical and commercial.’
‘Stella Cramer is an excellent practitioner with a strong mix of TMT and regulatory experience that enables her to support a range of innovative and complex transactions.’
‘Stella Cramer and David Olds are both extremely responsive and prompt, the depth and breadth of knowledge in their fields is impressive, they anticipate issues and take into account the macro and micro view to provide sound advice.’
‘Stellar legal knowledge in areas of practice, prompt response, uses technology to enable clients to lean on law firm’s technology to comply with new compliance requirements.’
Standard Chartered Bank / SC Ventures
Clifford Chance‘s extensive and diverse client base comprises financial investors, technology companies – ranging from established global players to start-ups – and other notable corporates, with many headquartered in Singapore and across the Asia Pacific region. The offering brings together specialists from a wide cross-section of practice areas, ensuring that the team is equally comfortable assisting with technology driven M&A, handling data protection compliance issues, resolving disputes involving technology implementations, or advising on the ever changing regulatory environment governing payments and cryptocurrencies. Banking and finance expert Paul Landless is a key contact, as is financial regulatory specialist Lena Ng. For contentious mandates Janice Goh is the name to note, while Melissa Ng is recommended for her expertise in corporate matters.
- Advising the high profile start-up, Contour, on its blockchain-based messaging platform for letters of credit and other trade finance instruments, as well as assisting with its Series A+ preferred financing in which the investors consist of a new investor and certain existing shareholders.
- Advised global private markets firm Partners Group, on behalf of its clients, on the joint establishment of a telecoms infrastructure platform, Unity Digital Infrastructure, in partnership with Aboitiz InfraCapital of the Aboitiz Group.
- Advised the consortium establishing the Partior platform on the corporate establishment, joint venture arrangements, regulatory aspects (including engagement with MAS), technology licensing, compliance and antitrust aspects of the undertaking.
CMS Holborn Asia
The offering at CMS Holborn Asia is noted for its wide-ranging expertise; the team’s regular workload ranges from assisting with cybersecurity mandates across Asia, to advising on cutting edge regulatory and licensing issues in telecoms and OTT, to handling transactions involving data sharing and outsourcing on behalf of notable financial institutions. As well as traditional technology and media companies, the firm’s client roster increasingly features core names from a spectrum of other industries, including healthcare, hospitality and infrastructure. Data privacy expert Sheena Jacob and life sciences specialist Sarah Hanson are the key contacts. Associate Cheng De Ko , formerly of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, joined the group in March 2021.
Other key lawyers:
Play Sports Network
The Walt Disney Company
United Overseas Bank
- Advising Discovery on a wide range of issues in Southeast Asia, including regulatory licensing and compliance, corporate and commercial work, data protection, and consumer protection matters.
- Advising DZ bank on the Singapore aspects of its global outsourcing arrangements with a large cloud service provider, including advising on the financial services regulator’s Technology risk Management Guidelines, data transfers under local privacy laws and data breach notification requirements pursuant to the Singapore law changes on this issue.
- Advising Parkway Pantai with on a suite of agreements to be entered into with a provider of supply chain management and e-commerce solutions in the healthcare sector, concerning the multi-level licensing and integration of a new laboratory system for reagent inventory and consumption management, and associated support services.
At Linklaters, fintech and digital health are areas of particular expertise; the team is known for supporting clients through the full gamut of e-payment issues, including assisting incumbents and disruptors with the establishment of digital payment systems, advising specialist payment platforms and providers on big-ticket M&A, contracting and data regulation, and handling licencing requirements and regulatory capital matters on behalf of digital wallets and e-money institutions. Recently, the group has also been much involved with digital infrastructure projects in the Asia Pacific region. The key contacts are Niranjan Arasaratnam, who is the global co-head of the firm’s technology offering, and Adrian Fisher, who oversees the TMT practice in Asia.
‘They were professional and handled our queries very well.’
‘Strong expertise in privacy regulatory issues, and understanding of issues like cross-border data transfers. Strong capacity to draw on Linklaters’ global footprint to inform their work in Asia.’
‘Adrian Fisher is an excellent partner to deal with – he takes a thoughtful approach to helping solve our problems, and has strong expertise on data privacy issues.’
Trumid Holdings LLC
Standard Chartered Bank
Vertex Growth Management
True Digital Group
AWAK Technologies Pte Ltd
Dentsu Aegis Network
Hutchison Asia Telecommunications
- Advised fintech company Trumid Holdings on the applicable regulatory requirements in relation to its joint venture with the Singapore Exchange and Hillhouse to launch an electronic Asian bond trading platform, Trumid XT.
- Advised Etisalat on its roll-out of a game-changing platform in the trade finance space, which was designed to help financial institutions combat fraud and invoice duplication.
- Advised BondEvalue on the launch of an electronic platform facilitating fractional ownership of bonds – the BondbloX Bond Exchange is the world’s first blockchain-based fractional bond trading platform and the first trade of digital bonds.
Pinsent Masons MPillay
Pinsent Masons MPillay's experienced offering is known for its deep bench of TMT specialists, who are well placed to handle a wide range of transactional and advisory work, as well as assisting with technology sourcing needs. Contentious matters are also a growing area of strength, in which the group is able to leverage the expertise of the firm's established disputes practice. Bryan Tan and Alexander Shepherd are the key senior contacts; the former's wide practice spans mandates relating to e-commerce, cybersecurity and contracting while the latter regularly provides financial institutions, investment funds and insurance companies with advice on technology and IT procurement and regulated outsourcing issues. Senior associate Nathanael Lim and associate Bernice Tian are also much lauded by clients.
‘At its core, we know PMMP as an extremely reliable transaction lawyer, who can work and think through convoluted, early stage deals with mercurial counter-parties and in multiple complex jurisdictions of SEA. In addition, they’ve over time built an impressive crypto practice.’
‘Availability at all hours, flexibility with approach, going the extra mile – describes all of our most frequent contracts, Bryan Tan, Bernice Tian and Nathanael Lim.’
Global Esports Federation
Singapore Media Exchange
- Entered into a five-year exclusive partnership agreement with muru-D to provide all legal services and administrative support to the client in relation to its portfolio in Asia Pacific.
- Advising on all of Razer’s matters in the Asia Pacific region as the client’s exclusive counsel in Singapore.
- Advising on all of Singapore Media Exchange’s commercial agreements and partnerships as exclusive counsel.
Milbank has a leading track record advising on landmark TMT transactions across Southeast Asia, including assisting with M&A, corporate finance and debt and equity offerings. The group’s client roster comprises a stellar list of the region’s most recognised innovators in the technology and telecoms space, as well as notable investors. The firm is able to leverage its significant global capabilities – including a highly regarded offering in the UK – when handling cross-border mandates. Giles Kennedy and Jacqueline Chan are the key names to note, along with David Zemans, who acts as the managing partner of the Singapore office.
Other key lawyers:
‘The project required vast amounts of innovation and the Milbank team has performed a tremendous task. It was a tedious process and the Milbank team has been on top of every matter and extremely able to pre-empt any potential challenges ahead.’
‘Jacqueline Chan was instrumental with various projects that our company has done. Giles Kennedy has been instrumental throughout the whole process and in his ability to find solutions across vast amounts of legal matters and challenges.’
‘The practice was exceptionally collaborative, and proactive in understanding how adjustments to our transactions (which were strategic in nature) would affect other areas of the company.’
‘I’ve had a very positive experience working with the team and in particular value their ability to: “follow the numbers” – our transactions with them have involved complex corporate restructuring work, and they displayed capability understanding how the numbers flow into the legal agreements, and how said agreements might evolve in response to changes in numbers – and be exceptionally hardworking, and support us on a 24/7 basis.’
‘The team has quite a bit of exposure to the telecoms market in Indonesia and Southeast Asian countries. As foreign firms/international counsels, they understand the local issues and attend to clients’ concerns.’
‘David Zemans and Jacqueline Chan have done quite a few deals in the region.’
Triterras Fintech Pte Ltd.
Micro-D International, Inc.
- Advised Triterras Fintech, a leading fintech company for commodity trading and trade finance, on its entry into a business combination agreement with Netfin Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company targeting businesses in the fintech industry, resulting in Triterras Fintech becoming a Nasdaq listed company via a reverse takeover.
- Advised Micro-D International and Novare Technologies on a stake sale in both businesses, through an auction process, with Advantage Partners, as the winning bidder, entering the company as a strategic investor through a complex holding structure.
Morrison Foerster (Singapore)‘s offering is structured around the firm’s core strengths in financial services and complex technology investment transactions; the team is well placed to leverage its global network in order to connect companies and capital sources in the TMT sector. Corporates which have identified the development of proprietary technology solutions as a strategic priority, and notable investors which view emerging technology companies as a key driver for growth form the core of the client roster. Managing partner Shirin Tang is a key contact, as are Lip Kian Ang and Jason Nelms.
A leading institutional investor, as a long-time investor in Grab Holdings
Beam Mobility Holdings Pte. Ltd
Touchstone Capital Partners
Vectr Fintech Partners
- Advising a leading institutional investor, as a long-time investor in Grab Holdings, on Grab’s proposed merger with special purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth – the transaction values Grab at $39.6bn.
- Advised Beam Mobility Holdings, a Singapore-headquartered micro mobility firm that offers shared e-scooters, on its $26m Series A financing from Sequoia Capital India, Hana Ventures and other investors.
- Advised Touchstone Capital Partners on the formation of its first venture capital fund focused on investing in start-ups in Vietnam’s fast-growing technology sector.